Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: Where The Wild Things Are Soundtrack




This analysis will be a CD review of Karen O & The Kids and their Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack. My favorite book growing up was Where the Wild Things Are and when Spike Jonze directed the movie, I could only say that my having a countdown was one of the least embarrassing things I did in preparation for this film. One thing that really made this movie was the music. At first, I thought, “What is that noise?” After watching the movie when it came out on DVD multiple times, I started to like the music more and more. What’s even more is that I’m the type of person who has every Lil Wayne, KanYe West, Jay-Z and Juelz Santana track ever released or bootlegged. I didn’t have this Indie Pop/Rock genre that was featured on the CD. Further, I’m a huge fan of Hip-Hop (very obvious from the previous sentence), and because I spend so much time listening to this genre, I don’t pay attention to artists like Karen O & the Kids. This paper will give a brief rundown of each track, the instruments used, and wrap up with whether or not the CD was a unified piece of work and how that fit into the motion picture.
Track 1 Food is Still Hot – This piece mainly utilizes an acoustic guitar, a slight piano in the background, and a type of woodwind blended into the singer’s voice. Midway through the song, horns start to play. There are no words, but the singer is humming and singing a type of melody. The track does a good job of blending all the instruments to sound like a unified piece.
Track 2 Sailing Home – There are drums, electric guitar, and symbols used to make this track. Again, there are no words, but the singer sings a melody backed by children singing the same thing. I don’t know how to explain it, but the track gave me the impression of sailing on a boat.
Track 3 All is Love – There are two acoustic guitars playing (one is panned completely left and the other completely right) along with a drum and shakers. The singer again teams up with children to sing “LO-VE. It’s a. Mystery. Where you’ll. Find me. Where you’ll. Find. All is love.” Whistling is incorporated in the track and it could be considered as an instrument when used in this context.
Track 4 Animal – This track uses dialogue from the movie. The track title is perfect as it sounds very tribal – music you would hear in a jungle. Karen O & the kids use standard instruments (guitars, drums, and symbols) but make them sound like something completely different – similar to our using plug-ins, like bit crushers and phasers in GarageBand. This track is definitely made complete with the Indian/Native American sounding chants and screaming in the background.
Track 5 Building All is Love – This track utilizes all the instruments from All is Love and is actually the same track but the music is sped up.
Track 6 Capsize – The main instrument in this track is a clapping rhythm. This track has no singing but instead uses rapping/chanting. This is another one of the tracks that has the singer singing a no-word-melody.
Track 7 Cliffs – This is another track that pans one acoustic guitar to hard left and another playing something different to hard right. Again, there are no words being sung, instead just a melody being sung. This track was actually playing during a lonely par in the movie when Max was alone; it has the perfect sad and alone tone to capture the feeling of the scene.
Track 8 Heads Up – This is the most mainstream sounding song. A guitar and drums are the only instruments utilized. It reminds me of The Hush Sound’s song We Intertwined. It’s the perfect hangout song because it sounds like a group of friends made it together playing the instruments they have in the basement.
Track 9 Igloo – Simple. Simple. Simple. This track has an acoustic guitar and something like a xylophone or an instrument that can play clear high notes. The only singing is that of – surprise – a melody.
Track 10 Lost Fur – This looks like the song that inspired the artwork for the soundtrack. It is an acoustic guitar playing with a martini-bar style piano. There is no singing and it sounds very sad – like a wild thing just lost its fur.
Track 11 Rumpus – Similar to track 4, this song is another jungle-esque track that features the same instruments and similar chanting. “Go Wiiiiiild!” is sung throughout (emphasizing the track’s title). The last 45 seconds or so seem to be like when a child is coming down from a sugar rush – it’s much calmer and slower.
Track 12 Rumpus Reprise – This track starts up where track 11 left off – back from the nap with more sugar in the system. The melody changes half way through the song and then becomes a bit of a march.
Track 13 Wideaway – This track definitely has multiple acoustic guitars and basses playing with different levels of distortion. The singer sounds very soulful and reminds me of how I feel after a perfect day with friends on the beach (similar to Max after his first day on the island of the wild things) – very relaxed and a feeling of distance from anything troublesome (which Max was trying to get away from in the movie).
Track 14 Worried Shoes – Another track that utilizes the distorted piano and a xylophone. “My worried shoes”, “I made a mistake that I never forgot”, “tied knots in the laces of my worried shoes” and melodies are sung throughout the piece. This is a perfect track to end the album as Max is coming full circle (in the movie) and after acting wild and crazy, realizes that he just doesn’t want to lose his mom. This song is how he felt about his possibly losing his mom to another man but then comes to accept it because it makes his mom happy.
This is definitely not an album that I would normally even consider listening to. There are very few words in any of the tracks – if at all – but then I realized, that’s not what music is. Lyrics in a song are a form of music. Music is art that is expressed audibly. The way the basic instruments are distorted along with the soothing – and sometimes eerie – sung melodies and creative way of playing the instruments and using chants, claps, and whistles to give a jungle vibe was definitely impressive. What needs to be understood from this album is that it is a soundtrack for a movie about a rebellious kid, Max, who runs away from home when he feels threatened by the man his mom is now dating and lives among the wild things. They have wild rumpus time but he grows tired of this when he misses his mom and sees that his best friend/wild thing, Carol, has the same demeanor and characteristics as him. He realizes that he has to grow up and end the wild rumpus (this end is signified in the album in the final track, track 14). What’s most important about this album and makes it so unique is that it embodies children – all the tracks have some form of chanting or singing of melodies and not many sung lyrics – this is because young children have the hyper energy that the music has but they aren’t great singers, so they try and sing the melody (which every track does brilliantly, with the lead singer, Karen O, singing extremely high and child like to sound like she recorded kids). This album goes to show that art really can come in any form.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's Hotter Than A Hot Girl Talking About Sports? Maybe Sandwiches In The Mix


MICHELLE BEADLE IS THE CO-HOST OF SportsNation ON ESPN2.

The Real World: DC, part I

I'M ABOUT A WEEK LATE ON THIS, BUT IT'S OK...

THE REAL WORLD: DC IS NOW OVER. FOR OVER 20 YEARS, MTV'S THE REAL WORLD HAS BEEN FILMING FROM DIFFERENT CITIES. I'LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT, I DIDN'T CARE VERY MUCH ABOUT THE SHOW... UNTIL IT STARTED AIRING IN MY HOMETOWN/PLACE OF MY BIRTH, WASHINGTON, DC.

2000 S STREET NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20009

THIS DUPONT CIRCLE ADDRESS WAS THE LOCATION 23RD SEASON OF THE SHOW.

IN THIS SERIES OF POSTS ABOUT THE REAL WORLD, I WILL TALK ABOUT THE CAST MEMBERS. THIS FIRST POST WILL BE ABOUT OUR FAVORITE PANDA, ANDREW, AND THIS POST IS ALSO DEDICATE TO ERICA BROOKS.


ANDREW WAS EASILY THE MOST REDICULOUS CAST MEMBER. HE WORE MANY ANIMAL-STYLE HATS, BUT HIS TRADEMARKS, THE PANDA HAT AS WELL AS HIS FLIPPY SUNGLASSES, ARE FEATURED ABOVE.
ANDREW'S MAIN GOAL ON THE SHOW WAS TOO HOOK UP WITH GIRLS. HE WOULD SHAMELESSLY HIT ON AND FLIRT WITH ESSENTIALLY ANYTHING WITH A PULSE. HE CONSTANTLY MADE HIS FEMALE ROOMMATES FEEL A LITTLE AWKWARD, ESPECIALLY WHEN TRYING TO STEAL THEIR BRAS AND PANTIES (SEE BELOW)


HOWEVER HE WAS THE MAINSTAY COMEDIC RELIEF FOR ANY TENSE MOMENT. IN FACT, HE HAD OTHER TALENTS - HE WAS A POLITICAL CARTOONIST AND WAS ABLE TO PUBLISH THE CARTOON BELOW IN THE WASHINGTONIAN.

HE WAS ALSO A MASTER LYRICIST, CREATING SONGS ABOUT ANYTHING, WHETHER HE WAS IN THE SHOWER OR TRYING TO FIND A HAT.
"You're not that funny girl but i laugh anyways... i got a thing for you and it's good cuz i think you got a thing for me too. I think you're hot and you think I am too. Let's go out tonight, and maybe we can hook up when we get baaaaack"

OBVIOUSLY IT DOESN'T RHYME, BUT IT'S HILARIOUS.

I HOPE THE REAL WORLD COMES BACK TO THE NATION'S CAPITAL. MAYBE I'LL BE ON AS A CAST MEMBER.

Bronx Bombin



THE YANKEES PICKED UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF IN THE WORLD SERIES... SLUGGING. HRs. GREAT PITCHING. AND OH YEAH, DEMOLISHING THE BOSOX.
ON SUNDAY, OPENING DAY, THE YANKEES PLAYED BOSTON IN NEW ENGLAND, BUT AFTER BEING UP 5-1, GOT A LITTLE OVERCONFIDENT AND GOT DROPPED 8-5. THE NEXT TWO GAMES WERE MORE FAVORABLE, WINNING BOTH WITH STELLAR PLAY. IN BOTH SITUATIONS, ENTER SANDMAN: THE AGELESS ONE, MARIANO RIVERA LEFT THE DUGOUT TO SHUT THE GAME DOWN. IN BOTH TRIES, HE SUCCESSFULLY STRUCK OR FORCED OUT THE REDSOX BATTERS. IN LAST NIGHT'S GAME, CURTIS GRANDERSON WAS A MAN AMONGST MEN AND REITERATED WHY THE YANKEES BROUGHT HIM TO NEW YORK.

SEASON OUTLOOK:

CHEERS FOR NEW YORK AND TEARS FOR BOSTON.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Just Because This Part of Your Life Is Over, Doesn't Mean Your Life Is All Over



SO JUST LIKE ANY OTHER SELF-RESPECTING ABOUT-TO-BE-COLLEGE-GRADUATE, I'M JOB HUNTING. I'M AN ECON MAJOR WITH A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE IN COPYRIGHT, PUBLIC POLICY, AND LAW. LEAVE A COMMENT WITH YOUR EMAIL IF YOU'D LIKE TO SEE MY RESUME.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Trippy Guitar Effects

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THIS FIRST NOMADS PAPER WILL BRIEFLY EXPLORE AND DISCUSS TOM MORELLO’S (OF RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE) GUITAR-PLAYING TECHNIQUE OF USING THE DIGITECH WHAMMY IN BULLS ON PARADE AT THEIR LIVE CONCERT AT THE GRAND OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM.
THE DIGITECH WHAMMY IS A PITCH-SHIFTER EFFECTS PEDAL MANUFACTURED BY DIGITECH. IT GIVES MUSICIANS THE ABILITY TO SHIFT THE PITCH OF THEIR ELECTRIC GUITAR UP OR DOWN IN REAL TIME BY ROCKING A TREADLE PEDAL UP AND DOWN WITH THEIR FOOT, SIMILAR TO HOW A WAH PEDAL AFFECTS THE TONE OF A GUITAR BASED ON THE POSITION OF THE TREADLE. ESSENTIALLY, A PITCH-SHIFTER IS AN AUDIO PROCESSOR THAT ALTERS THE PITCH OF SOUND. THIS EFFECT IS MOST COMMONLY FOUND TODAY (IN ITS EXTREME FORM) IN HIP-HOP & R&B, AKA, THE T-PAIN EFFECT OR AUTO-TUNE. THEORETICALLY, PITCH SHIFTING CAN BE APPLIED TO ANY TYPE OF AUDI, NOT JUST VOICE. TOM MORELLO TAKES THEORY AND PUTS THE EFFECT TO USE IN REAL TIME/LIVE PERFORMANCES BY CONNECTING IT TO HIS ELECTRIC GUITAR. THE SOUND THAT IS GENERATED IS SIMILAR TO THE WAHWAH OR PHASER EFFECTS THAT WE USED IN AUDACITY. IN FACT, AROUND THE TIME OF RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’S THIRD STUDIO ALBUM, THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES, HE STARTED INCORPORATING REAL-TIME TREMOLO AND PHASER EFFECTS (WE SAW BOTH THESE EFFECTS IN GARAGEBAND AS WELL).
ANOTHER TECHNIQUE USED BY MORELLO IS TAPPING, WHICH IS EXECUTED BY USING THE FINGERS GOING IN ONE HAND TO 'TAP' THE STRINGS AGAINST THE FINGERBOARD, THUS SOUNDING LEGATO NOTES, OFTEN IN TIGHTLY SYNCHRONIZED CONJUNCTION WITH THE OTHER HAND, THUS, TAPPING USUALLY INCORPORATES PULL-OFFS OR HAMMER-ONS AS WELL, WHEREBY THE FINGERS OF THE LEFT HAND PLAY A SEQUENCE OF NOTES IN SYNCHRONIZATION WITH THE TAPPING HAND. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, THIS TECHNIQUE HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE LATE 18TH/EARLY 19TH CENTURY AS PAGANINI USED A SIMILAR TECHNIQUE WHILE PLAYING HIS VIOLIN. TURKS HAVE HISTORICALLY USED A BA─×LAMA, SIMILAR TO THE ARABIC OUD, WHICH I WROTE ABOUT IN MY FIRST MICE WORLD TOUR TRACK ANALYSIS (WHICH CAN BE FOUND IN THE TRACK ENTITLED WORLD STRING). IT SEEMS THAT ANY MUSICAL EFFECTS THAT EXIST IN POPULAR MUSIC TODAY (THE USE OF THE THEREMIN BY THE BEACH BOYS) HAVE EXISTED IN SOME WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM IN THE PAST.
MUSICAL TECHNIQUES SUCH AS THESE GAINED GROUND IN THE 1950S; JUST ABOUT THE TIME THAT PIERRE SCHAEFFER WAS EXPLORING MUSIQUE CONCRETE. JIMMIE WEBSTER MADE RECORDINGS DURING THE 1950S THAT HE DESCRIBED IN HIS 1952 BOOK TOUCH METHOD FOR ELECTRIC AND AMPLIFIED SPANISH GUITAR. HIS NEW METHOD OF PLAYING WASN’T EXTREMELY POPULAR, BUT JAZZ GUITARISTS LIKE BARNEY KESSEL USED IT OCCASIONALLY IN THE 1950S AND 60S. MANY ARTISTS, INCLUDING STEVE HACKETT OF GENESIS, BEGAN USING THE EFFECT UNTIL EDDIE VAN HALEN, FRANK ZAPPA AND BILLY GIBBONS OF ZZ TOP, AND BRIAN MAY OF QUEEN, HELPED TO POPULARIZE THE GUITAR EFFECT AND HAVE MADE IT MAINSTAYS OF MORE PSYCHEDELIC ROCK THAT WE HEAR TODAY. IN LINE WITH EXPLORING AND CREATING MUSIC, MORELLO SPLIT HIS GUITAR SIGNAL TO TWO DIFFERENT AMPLIFIERS, PUTTING A DELAY ON ONE AND LEAVING THE OTHER AMP UNAFFECTED CREATING A PING-PONG EFFECT BETWEEN THE TWO AMPLIFIERS.
I ASKED 3RD-YEAR ENGINEERING STUDENT, BRIAN CHALDARES, WHAT HE THOUGHT WHEN HEARING THE EFFECT THAT HE SAW IN THE VIDEO; HE RESPONDED (ON THE FIRST 45 SECONDS): “THAT’S INCREDIBLE HOW HE’S BENDING ONE SINGLE NOTE TO DIFFERENT PITCHES.” AFTER REFLECTING ON HIS POINT, I LISTENED TO THE FIRST 45 SECONDS OF THE SONG BEFORE THE DRUMBEAT DROPPED AND IT SOUNDED EXTREMELY SIMILAR TO THE THEREMIN WE STUDIED IN CLASS. MORELLO IS SEEMINGLY CONTROLLING THE SOUND OF EACH NOTE ON EACH STRING WITH HIS FINGERS WITHOUT STRUMMING – IT SEEMS LIKE THE NOTES’ PITCH BEND MUCH LIKE THE THEREMIN WHEN BEING PLAYED.
IT’S INTERESTING AND AMAZING TO SEE THAT TECHNIQUES THAT ARE SEEMINGLY NEW THAT ARE USED IN POPULAR MUSIC TODAY HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR DECADES, IF NOT CENTURIES. TRULY NEW MUSIC CAN ONLY BE CREATED WHEN THE ARTIST TAKES TO HEART THE SPIRIT OF A TECHNOSONIC NOMAD AND EXPLORES DIFFERENT WAYS OF MAKING AND SHARING MUSIC. SOMETHING TRULY UNIQUE – AND TRULY TECHNOSONIC – IS BEING PLAYED WHEN TOM MORELLO STRUMS HIS GUITAR.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beats by Dr. Dre #2



SO YOU MIGHT RECALL ME POSTING ABOUT ONE OF MY CHRISTMAS GIFTS - THE BEATS BY DR. DRE STUDIO HEADPHONES. THE BASS AND SOUND IN GENERAL IS INCREDIBLE!
I WAS SO HAPPY WITH THEM THAT I BOUGHT THE TOURS RECENTLY AND I JUST RECEIVED THEM. THESE ARE EARPHONES THAT SOUND BETTER THAN MOST OVER-EAR HEADPHONES.



YOU CAN CHECK OUT OTHER BEATS PRODUCTS HERE.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coveroo



COVEROO IS A SERVICE THAT LET'S YOU PICK FROM POPULAR DESIGNS (YOUR FAVORITE MLB OR NBA TEAM, ETC) OR YOU CAN UPLOAD YOUR OWN PICTURE AND ALSO ADD TEXT.
YOU CAN CHOOSE A LASER ETCH OR FULL COLOR DESIGN. THE BEST PART? YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO SEND IN YOUR PHONE FOR CUSTOMIZATION. YOU SIMPLY MAKE YOUR SELECTION, PAY, AND IT SHIPS OUT TO YOU ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.

ENJOY YOUR PHONE YOUR WAY. I'M ABOUT TO COP THE CUSTOM ONE AND GET A WASHINGTON CAPS LOGO.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Driving So Slow, But BK is From Texas

So I found out that my parents are looking into getting me a car for graduation and I believe they're lookin at

An Audi A5 Convertible Coupe

OR

A BMW M6 Convertible Coupe

Either way, I'm getting this license plate:

Friday, December 18, 2009

December Means Snow, Christmas, & Thinking Forward To Beach Season


SO AFTER PUTTING IT OFF FOR SO MANY MONTHS AND SEMESTERS, I'M FINALLY GETTING MY ACT TOGETHER... I JUST BOUGHT A GYM MEMBERSHIP AT XSPORT FITNESS THIS PAST MONDAY AND GOT MYSELF A NICE FITNESS EVALUATION. I'VE HIT UP THE GYM EVERYDAY AND ACCORDING TO MY TRAINER, I SHOULD LOOK LIKE THE SITUATION OR TAYLOR LAUTNER (WHICHEVER YOU PREFER) BY APRIL.

BEACH WEEK IS GONNA BE THE SHIZNIT. FISTPUMP LIKE CHAMPS...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fed Up

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DJ KHALED FEAT. USHER, YOUNG JEEZY, RICK ROSS, AND DRAKE.

ENJOY

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jake Olson

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It is my opinion that ESPN has probably the most thoughtful, well-done programming on television. Yes, they air sports almost 24/7 and you see the occasional Pro Bowling Association Tournament or the Table Tennis World Championships, but what's more important is that they go out and do really interesting, heartfelt human interest stories.

The latest story aired this past Saturday Morning on College Game Day (November 28, 2009). The piece is about an extremely courageous young 7th grade, Jake Olson. He has been a USC Trojans fan his entire life... and his entire life he's been battling retinoblastoma, a rapidly developing cancer of the retina. Jake had his left eye removed and after battling 8 different stints with cancer, it was clear that his right eye had to be removed as well.

Before the surgery, his only wish was to see the USC Trojans Football team one more time. The team ended up embracing him and Jake's wish came true beyond anything.

In the spirit of the Holiday Season, if you are able, please donate to The Jimmy V Fund and/or St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Groh Finally Departs



AFTER MUDDLING THROUGH MANY A CRAP SEASON, UVA HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, AL GROH, HAS FINALLY BEEN FIRED (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY).

THE TOP-5 PAID COACH IN THE COUNTRY HAS GAVE US A VERY LACKLUSTER PERFORMANCE AS SKIPPER OF THE VIRGINIA FOOTBALL PROGRAM. NOW ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS SEE WHO CRAIG LITTLEPAGE, UVA ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, CHOOSES TO REPLACE GROH.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Letter to UPC

Dear Friends,

I feel swindled.

If you haven't already heard. There were only 450 tickets available for the Wale concert. Why is this? Because UPC thinks it's a smart (and not a money-losing) situation to bring GirlTalk to an empty JPJ and put Wale, who GQ magazine said is the next Jay-Z, in the Student Activities Building. How this is in anyway a good move, I could not tell you.

I wrote a letter to UPC & PKG Concerts yesterday and I'm awaiting their response. I would ideally like to post both the unabridged, unalterd version of my initial letter and then post the unabridged, unaltered response from them, if I get one. If this fails, I want to try and get the Cav Daily to post my letter.

-MJ

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comedy Spotlight

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KEVIN HART (BORN JULY 3, 1980) IS AN AWSMAZING ACTOR AND COMEDIAN, ORIGINALLY FROM PHILLY. AFTER WINNING A FEW CONTESTS, HE QUIT HIS JOB AS A SHOE SALESMAN AND EMBARKED ON A CAREER IN COMEDY. HE GAINED FAME WHEN HE APPEARED IN SCARY MOVIE 3 AND SOUL PLANE AND MADE AN APPEARANCE IN THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. KHART IS EASILY ONE OF THE FUNNIEST DUDES IN STAND UP RIGHT NOW. HE’S FILMED AND HBO SPECIAL ENTITLED I’M A GROWN LITTLE MAN. HE’S CURRENTLY TOURING THE NATION. IF HE COMES TO YOUR CITY, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GO SEE HIM… BUT ALSO DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DON’T EAT TOO SOON BEFOREHAND BECAUSE YOU’LL THROW UP FROM LAUGHING SO HARD. WATCH THE CLIP I ADDED FROM THE HBO SPECIAL ABOVE. ENJOY!

ALSO, FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER, HE'S KevinHart4real